Keeping our Teens Drug and Alcohol Free

Homecoming, Halloween & Helpful Tips

by HPHS Resource Officer James Eldridge

As the weather changes from summer to fall, I look forward to Friday night football games, Homecoming dances and costume parties. As the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Highland Park High School, I’m fully aware these events present the possibility of underage drinking and drug use. I try to educate students on how to stay safe at these events, how to say no to drugs and alcohol and how to report emergencies.

Speaking with teens early, often and honestly plays a significant role in how they will react in scenarios involving alcohol and drugs. Studies show YOU are always your child’s biggest influence.

Conversation tips to keep your teen safe:

  • Ask them to call/text you if there is any change of plans.
  • Discuss an exit plan if they feel uncomfortable and want to leave.
  • Remind them that curfew is 11 pm on weeknights and midnight on weekends. Driving curfew is one hour earlier.
  • Let them know you’ll stay up to make sure they arrive home safely.
  • Reinforce your expectation that they stay safe and avoid risky behaviors, which includes not consuming alcohol or marijuana.
  • Not only is it illegal for them, social host laws mean that parents can also get into trouble if underage alcohol or drug use occurs on their property.
  • Assure them it’s ok to call 911 in emergencies. If a minor calls 911 for medical aid for intoxication or overdose, neither the caller nor the person they’re helping are held criminally liable for consuming alcohol or drug possession.

With Halloween around the corner, parents should be aware of a new rainbow-colored fentanyl pill recently seized in multiple states across the country. The pills can easily be mistaken for candy.

Together we can keep our youth and communities safe!

James Eldridge
Highland Park High School Resource Officer

Visit CTAD’s Teen Parties fact sheet to learn more tips on keeping your teen safe when hosting parties or when your teen attends one.